Parmesan Zucchini Spears with Garlic Aioli

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Impresses: 4

2 zucchini squash
½ cup flour
2 eggs
½ cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 400 F and top a baking pan with a baking rack. Set aside.

Cut the ends off each zucchini and slice in half horizontally. Slice each half into four spears lengthwise. Blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Line three shallow dishes in a row. Fill the first with the flour, whisk eggs in the second, and combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in the third.

To coat, dip each zucchini spear in the flour, dunk in egg, and cover in breadcrumbs. Arrange in a single layer onto baking rack.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

For Garlic Aioli Dip:
Combine ½ cup sour cream and ½ cup buttermilk.
Stir in 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh garlic and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Orange Ricotta Zucchini Roll-Ups with Mint Pesto

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Impresses: 4

1 cup spinach
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 zucchini squash
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 orange, juiced
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper 

In a food processor, pulse together spinach, mint leaves, pine nuts and Parmesan until finely chopped. Scrape down bowl and drizzle in olive oil while pulsing to combine. Start with ¼ cup olive oil and add more as needed until thick, but drizzle-able. Season with salt and set aside.

Using a mandoline set to to a ⅛-inch thickness, slice zucchini squash lengthwise. 

Place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb excess water.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, orange juice and zest, salt and pepper. 

Using a spoon, spread about one tablespoon of the ricotta mixture along a slice of zucchini from end to end. Roll up like a pinwheel and place, right-side up onto a serving platter. Repeat with remaining zucchini and filling.

Drizzle with mint pesto and serve immediately. 

Roasted Red Pepper Gnocchi

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Impresses: 4

8-ounce package gnocchi pasta
2 cups 4% milk fat cottage cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stem
¼ cup dry red wine
½ cup fresh mozzarella pearls, halved

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil and cook gnocchi for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

Heat oven to 400 F and spritz a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Add cottage cheese, Parmesan, roasted red peppers, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, rosemary and red wine to a blender. Pulse to combine before blending on high for 2 minutes, or until smooth. 

Toss cooked gnocchi with 2 cups sauce and pour into prepared baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on top and dot with mozzarella pearls.

Bake 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese has melted. Let set 5 minutes before serving.

Oven Baked Eggs

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Impresses: 4

8 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese,
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 375 F.

Place a medium-size, high-sided, oven-proof skillet over medium heat.

Beat together eggs, half and half, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Add butter to the skillet and let melt. Pour in egg mixture.

Using a rubber spatula, gently scrape down edges and lift edges to let unset eggs flow into the bottom of the skillet.

Once the bottom is set, place in the oven.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.

Slice and serve.

Baked BBQ Nuggets

Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes: 25–30 nuggets

For the nuggets:
2 16-ounce bags frozen, riced cauliflower
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups corn cereal, preferably flakes, crushed
1 cup barbeque sauce
2 tablespoons blue cheese
¼ cup parsley, chopped

For the dipping sauce:
1 package ranch dressing mix
2 cups cottage cheese
½ cup blue cheese crumbles

For the nuggets:
Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Microwave riced cauliflower to package instructions. Once prepared, pour into a large bowl with Parmesan, 2 eggs, garlic powder, parsley flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Press cauliflower mixture onto prepared baking sheet and bake 25 minutes, or until the top starts to brown. 

Let cool at room temperature or pop in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once cool, break or cut into pieces and set aside.

Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly beat remaining eggs in a shallow dish and pour crushed corn cereal into another shallow dish.

Dip cauliflower pieces into egg and then coat with corn cereal. Place onto prepared baking sheet and bake 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and toss pieces in barbeque sauce. Place back on baking sheet and bake 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle with blue cheese and parsley and serve with dipping sauce (recipe below).

For the dipping sauce:
Combine ranch mix and cottage cheese in a blender and pulse until smooth. Fold in blue cheese crumbles.

Warm Kale Salad

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Impresses: 4*

Kale is more than a garnish next to your New York strip; it’s a vegetable with integrity. Its strong stalk supports bristly leaves that stand up when cooking — unlike others that wilt under pressure (we’re looking at you, spinach). The hearty texture makes it perfect for sautéing, steaming and roasting. This 5-minute recipe tenderizes the produce aisle’s favorite superfood and dresses it up as a quick side or light dinner.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head curly or lacinato kale,
washed and patted dry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
¼ cup walnut pieces
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup Parmesean cheese

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

Remove kale leaves from the stem by tearing into pieces and add to the pan.

Sauté, stirring frequently, 2–3 minutes or until kale has reduced slightly. Remove from heat and toss in remaining ingredients. 

Serve immediately.

*As a side dish. Will serve 1–2 as a light meal.

Herby Grain Salad

Start to finish: 1 hour
Impresses: 4

1    cup barley
2    cups chicken broth
1    stick European-style butter
½    cup parsley
¼    cup basil
¼    cup dill
2    tablespoons oregano
2    tablespoons sage
½    cup parmesan cheese
      salt and pepper

In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine barley and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

While the barley cooks, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until it turns a toasty, amber color. (You’ll be able to smell it during this step.) 

Remove from heat and carefully pour through a fine mesh sieve into a jar or small bowl. Set aside.

Roughly chop all of the herbs and place into a large bowl. Once barley is cooked, add to the bowl with herbs. Toss together with butter, parmesan, salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks


Start to finish: 50 minutes
Impresses: 6

1    pound riced cauliflower, frozen or fresh
2    eggs, lightly beaten
½    cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1    teaspoon Italian seasoning
1    cup ricotta cheese
1    cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3    cloves garlic, minced
½    teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Steam riced cauliflower in the microwave according to package instructions. If you grate/rice your own, place in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap with a few holes poked in the top and steam 5–6 minutes.

Carefully spread steamed cauliflower on a sheet pan lined with paper towels and set in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, garlic and salt. Mix until fully incorporated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cooled cauliflower, eggs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough-like consistency is formed. Turn mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheet and press into an even layer, similar to a pizza crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned. 

Remove from oven and carefully flip over parchment, so the top of the crust is now on the bottom of the baking sheet and peel parchment off the now top crust. Schmear with ricotta mixture.

Bake again for 10–15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.

Lasagna Roll-Ups


Recipe courtesy of Amber Talsma

Start to finish: 1 hour
Impresses: 10

20 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 30-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella, grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 large eggs
¼ cup parsley, minced
¼ cup basil, minced

Preheat oven to 375 F. Boil lasagna noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water to cool and then lay flat on a sheet of foil. Set aside. 

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic, then sauté for 4–5 minutes until vegetables start to soften. Remove vegetables from the pan. 

Add ground beef to the pan and cook until browned. Drain the excess fat. 

Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Add the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. 

To make the filling, combine the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the mozzarella, ¾ cup of the Parmesan, eggs, remaining salt and pepper, parsley and basil. Stir to combine. 

To assemble, spoon a thin layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan or five 6-inch disposable foil loaf pans. 

Spread 2–3 tablespoons of the filling on each noodle. Then, roll the noodles up so the cheese is on the inside of the roll. 

Lay rolls sideways in the 9x13-inch pan (four rolls will fit in each loaf pan).

Top evenly with the remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. 

Place pan(s) on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.